2025 Design-Your-Own Fellowship Applications are Open

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Headshot of Jenny Ballesteros Magdaleno

Jenny Ballesteros Magdaleno

  • Hosted by Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc.
  • Sponsored by The Morrison & Foerster Foundation
  • Service location Watsonville, California
  • Law school University of California, Davis School of Law
  • Issue area Farmworkers, Immigrant Populations
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Jenny (she/her/hers) will represent undocumented immigrants living on the Northern Central Coast of California in becoming lawful permanent residents through 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and provide post-conviction relief services to those who need them.
There are about 83,000 undocumented immigrants living on the Northern Central Coast, many of whom are farmworkers. There are only five nonprofits that serve the area, but most of them provide limited immigration legal services and are unable to meet the need for representation. Consequently, many individuals are forced to travel several hours away to obtain assistance or fall victim to notaries who commit immigration fraud. A priority need of the community is assisting undocumented immigrants in becoming lawful permanent residents through 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as potentially tens of thousands qualify. Clients often also require post-conviction relief assistance, which is not currently offered by area nonprofits.
Jenny is passionate about working with the immigrant community because, growing up, she witnessed the struggles her undocumented parents faced. She specifically wants to help the immigrant community on the Northern Central Coast of California because she grew up there and has seen first-hand how the lack of immigration legal service providers has negatively impacted the community.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Jenny will conduct at least 200 pro bono consultations, assist 100 people in applying for their lawful permanent residency through 245(i), and help five people obtain post-conviction relief. Jenny will conduct community outreach throughout the three counties to inform people of these services. She will also strengthen CAB’s relationships with other service providers in the area to assist more people.

Since high school, my goal has been to provide quality immigration legal services to my community. After learning the skills and knowledge I need to be an effective advocate, I am happy to have the opportunity to return and serve my community.

Jenny Ballesteros Magdaleno /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Jenny

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Alyson Dimmitt Gnam

Host: Northwest Justice Project

Sponsor: Friends and Family of Philip M. Stern

Eliana Kaimowitz

Host: California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation

Sponsor: Bingham McCutchen LLP

Photo of Tim Sanders Szabo

Timothy Sanders

Host: Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota

Sponsor: 3M Company, Faegre Baker Daniels

Photo of Pete Weiss

Peter Weiss

Host: Pangea Legal Services

Sponsor: Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, The City of San Jose